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Bourgeoisie prices at the Willy St. Coop...

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Bourgeoisie prices at the Willy St. Coop...

Postby dstol62 » Mon Aug 27, 2007 11:07 am

Having not been over to the co-op in a few months, I thought yesterday would be a good day to pick up a few staples while most of the neighborhood was milling around Orton Park. I ended up picking up a half pound of roast beef, a pint of soy ice cream, a loaf of bread, and a quart container of flash-frozen grapefruit juice. Not including my owed dues, the total came to over $16.
I guess that's par for the course these days, but I felt funny paying that amount for four items that could fit in a lunch bag, with room to spare. It is a given that most grocery items that ecologically smart or have some kind of political agenda behind them are going to cost more, but this is a neighborhood of people with diverse backgrounds and incomes. I personally feel that even a store like the co-op should attempt to embrace everyone in the neighborhood by carrying certain items (especially staples) at varying price points. I recognize that certain items like milk are priced at the mercy of market trends.

I don't normally patronize Woodman's, but may start going there again.
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Re: Bourgeoisie prices at the Willy St. Coop...

Postby TheBookPolice » Mon Aug 27, 2007 11:18 am

dstol62 wrote:a half pound of roast beef, a pint of soy ice cream, a loaf of bread, and a quart container of flash-frozen grapefruit juice ... four items that could fit in a lunch bag, with room to spare.


You need to eat less for lunch. That'll save you some coin.
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Re: Bourgeoisie prices at the Willy St. Coop...

Postby dstol62 » Mon Aug 27, 2007 11:20 am

And if you talk less, there's less carbon dioxide in the air. How about addressing the issue?


TheBookPolice wrote:
dstol62 wrote:a half pound of roast beef, a pint of soy ice cream, a loaf of bread, and a quart container of flash-frozen grapefruit juice ... four items that could fit in a lunch bag, with room to spare.


You need to eat less for lunch. That'll save you some coin.
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Postby TheBookPolice » Mon Aug 27, 2007 11:27 am

Someone call the waaahmbulance.

Okay, fine. If it's good roast beef, you might hit $10 per pound. If the "ice cream" is priced at, say, Ben and Jerry's levels, that's $4 a pint at the market rate. I don't know what kind of bread you bought, but if it were Ezekiel or some other crunchy brand, that's $4.50. A quart of grapefruit juice will cost you anywhere from $3 to $7, so let's take the middle and say $5.

$5 + $4 + $4.50 + $5 = $18.50 before tax.

I think you got off light.
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Postby pulsewidth modulation » Mon Aug 27, 2007 11:30 am

You bought meat from the COOP? That was your first mistake. PETA style "humanely" raised cattle sounds nice and friendly and all, but it costs too much. The additional costs associated with this feel good price premium are too much for most people to bear. I tend to look down on COOP members who demand this kind of boutique meat. They are hurting the rest of the members who just want healthy meat.

If you can find a producer who cuts growth hormones out of the mix, uses a strict grass fed diet, and guarantees the cows were let out every once and a while to roam (meat is muscle tissue and it needs to be worked from time to time); you have found a high quality producer if you ask me. The premium for this meat should not surpass $10.00 a lB for a decent cut or $8.00 a lB for an economy cut. Those are the margins.

Also, never forget, a lot of items in conventional warehouse grocery stores are subsidized all the way through the production cycle by agro/industrial taxes. A lot of people perceive these market distortions as "savings," but they are not. They just pay higher taxes in order to get cheaper food. Another words, people who buy food at the COOP are paying true prices.
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Postby dudemeister » Mon Aug 27, 2007 11:43 am

pulsewidth modulation wrote:Another words, people who buy food at the COOP are paying true prices.


Exactly. People bitch about how expensive the coop is but that's relative and comparing the price of the $.99/lb ground beef special (horrors!) at the SuperSaver to organic, free-range ground beef at the coop is comparing apples to oranges.

Don't forget the Coop strives not to provide the cheapest food but high quality, locally sourced, organic food. If not local, it's often fair trade. Also I would think they pay employees a fair salary, etc.

If you don't like that concept, then it's not the store for you.

Of course there is a secret cabal of Coop directors and owners with numbers under 100 that, at the end of the year, divvy up the vast profits. They retain a small, hippy household on the near East isthmus for appearances but actually all own lakefront mansions in "the Bluff." You know that big state building down on the bike path near the Coop? Actually a parking garage for the Coop cabal. Once in a while, when the door opens, you can see their servants polishing Ferraris.
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Postby pulsewidth modulation » Mon Aug 27, 2007 12:15 pm

dudemeister wrote:
pulsewidth modulation wrote:Another words, people who buy food at the COOP are paying true prices.


Exactly. People bitch about how expensive the coop is but that's relative and comparing the price of the $.99/lb ground beef special (horrors!) at the SuperSaver to organic, free-range ground beef at the coop is comparing apples to oranges.


Yea it is. The COOP does a good job educating people about this. If consumers are demanding a $0.99 a lB price for beef, they should expect crap. In some cases, literally...

The COOP board still spends too much time and money "educating" people about nonsense such as collectivism. If the hippie throw-backs who run the COOP stopped doing this, prices would come down and their market share would increase. The COOP could easily recapture market share from encroaching competition for the organic market if it gave practical Madisonians what they wanted, rather than wasting time and money on lost causes via indoctrination campaigns.
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Postby dstol62 » Mon Aug 27, 2007 1:08 pm

Your explanations of how the alternate food production system works is fine. My original concern is that the co-op's prices for "everyday stuff" is mainly directed toward the more affluent residents of the neighborhood, while the lower income residents in the area are forced to consume the crap at Aldi's if they want a full cupboard. My point is that if environmentally friendly and politically correct food companies want to make a real impact, they should find a way to make such products affordable to everyone.
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Postby TheBookPolice » Mon Aug 27, 2007 1:14 pm

Ice cream and grapefruit juice are everyday items?

I understand that you don't want to pay what you paid for these items, but to decry their expense as out of line with what prices should be for basics, is just plain silly. These aren't basics.

Bread: basic. Meat: sort of basic. Soy ice cream and fancy juice? Not so basic.
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Postby Henry Vilas » Mon Aug 27, 2007 1:29 pm

pulsewidth modulation wrote:The COOP board still spends too much time and money "educating" people about nonsense such as collectivism.

A co-op that teachers the principles of cooperativism.

How dare they!
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Postby pulsewidth modulation » Mon Aug 27, 2007 1:37 pm

dstol62 wrote:My point is that if environmentally friendly and politically correct food companies want to make a real impact, they should find a way to make such products affordable to everyone.


Are you talking about the retailer or producers? If you are referring to the producers, your analysis is simply way off.

Prices for organics keep coming down, everywhere; I see this trend continuing.

It doesn't matter if an organic product is listed at the COOP for $3.00 while the competition offers the same product for $2.00. The end user is still consuming the same product, so obviously there are other factors involved in the huge price difference. Like I said; part of the reason the COOP adds to their margins is due to unnecessary costs throughout the rest of the store. I see so much wasteful overhead when I walk through that store. Then again what I see as ridiculous, hipsters see as "cute" and "stylish," which leads me to believe market forces are behind the "shopping experience" price premium.

Some of what I would consider wasteful, the COOP board simply sees as a marketing strategy. Yuppies want to shop around their own kind as well as interesting people with tattoos all over their bodies sporting "I hate GB" T-shirts. I think this is silly, but obviously there is a market for this kind of scenery on Madison's near eastside. This market is willing to pay a premium for this kind of insular "shopping experience." Don't blame the board, blame the neighborhood market.

The COOP is still competitive and innovative in other ways. I haven't completely written off the board as a bunch of loons.
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Postby barney » Mon Aug 27, 2007 2:03 pm

dstol62 wrote: My point is that if environmentally friendly and politically correct food companies want to make a real impact, they should find a way to make such products affordable to everyone.


The best way for that to happen is for those of us who can afford it to buy them.
Econ 101. (Or maybe 102 - which was micro?)

The reason why you can get 99 cent ground beef is because there's shit (literally) in the meat, amongst the chemicals and fingers of the workers without benefits.

If those folks filling their cupboards at Aldi actually spent the same amount at the co-op or their neighborhood farmer's market on actual food and not HFCS, filler and chemical-laden garbage, their tummies would be just as full, only they wouldn't have to eat as much to get there.
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Postby aaron » Mon Aug 27, 2007 2:13 pm

I solved the meat dilemma years ago. I don't buy it and don't eat it. Problem solved.
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Postby TheBookPolice » Mon Aug 27, 2007 2:24 pm

aaron wrote:I solved the meat dilemma years ago. I don't buy it and don't eat it. Problem solved.


Yes, but the animals are still made of meat, and who's gonna eat 'em if not you?
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Postby NullDevice » Mon Aug 27, 2007 3:22 pm

I volunteer to pick up the meaty, meaty slack.
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